Democrats protest exclusion of ballots in Palm Beach County
WEST PALM BEACH, Florida (CNN) -- Democratic party attorneys Saturday protested a decision by the Palm Beach County Canvassing Board to exclude from its recount about 150 ballots with dimpled chads from one of the county's precincts.
The three-member all-Democratic canvassing board decided last week to count only those votes where the chad was perforated from the ballot, and to exclude votes where the chad was "dimpled," or punched but not perforated.
Dennis Newman, an attorney for the Democratic Party, complained the board tossed out 150 dimpled ballots from precinct 162E.
Hand count results in 'little movement'
Newman said it appeared the voting machine used to punch the ballots jammed in the No. 5 hole, which would have registered a vote for Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore. He likened the problem to a 3-hole puncher not cutting completely through the paper.
Gore received about 1,100 votes in that precinct, Newman said, while Texas Gov. George W. Bush received roughly 200.
This was the first precinct where a large number of ballots were contested. Earlier, the chairman of the county's canvassing board said initial hand-counting of ballots had resulted in little movement for either presidential candidate.
"From what I'm seeing, I'm not seeing much of a change," said Charles Burton.
As the counting teams wrapped up their work Saturday night, about 156,000 ballots out of 462,000 had been recounted, or about 34 percent. Officials estimate they finished counting votes from about 202 of the county's 531 precincts.
Few disputes between observers
But the members of the canvassing board were expected to stay much later to review ballots the counting teams had tagged as "questionable."
Burton said there had been few disputes between GOP and Democratic Party observers.
Asked whether there had been many "dimpled" ballots, he said, "very, very, very few."
Twenty-five teams of counters -- plus Democratic and Republican Party observers -- were working two seven-hour shifts to recount the ballots.